Emotional families on Sunday bade a final farewell to the soldiers who were
in an ambush by militants in Manipur last week even as the relatives of one martyr in Noida refused to cremate his body to protest against the attitude of the local administration.
The last rites of the soldiers of 6 Dogra Regiment were performed in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. Eighteen soldiers were killed and 11 others injured in the ambush in Chandel district of Manipur on Thursday.
At Murad Garhi village in Gautam Budh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh, the family of soldier Jagvir Singh refused to cremate his body, saying they were hurt by the manner in which the local administration announced a compensation of Rs 30 lakh but did not send anyone to pay respect to the martyr.
The announcement about the compensation was made to the media, NDTV quoted members of the family as saying. “If they want to give compensation, they must visit us and make the announcement,” said a relative.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the army bade an emotional adieu to six soldiers from the state. An Indian Air Force plane brought the bodies of the soldiers to Jammu, from where they were sent to their villages by road for last rites with full military honours.
“One of the bodies was of a soldier from Punjab and the rest were the bodies of soldiers from here," said defence spokesman Lt Col Manish Mehta. A wreath-laying ceremony was organised by the army at Satwari Cantonment.
The six soldiers from Jammu region who died in the ambush were Naib Subedar Ram Singh, Havaldars Satpal Bhasin, Randeep Singh and Sunil Kumar Sharma, Lance Naik Kuldeep Raj and Sepoy Vijay Kumar.
In Himachal Pradesh, a sombre atmosphere prevailed in seven villages where the last rites of slain soldiers were performed with full military honours. Hundreds of people attended the cremations.
The bodies were brought by a special military aircraft to Chandigarh and then sent to villages in Himachal Pradesh.
Some families did not get a chance to have a last glimpse of the slain soldiers since the army had asked them not to open the caskets because the bodies were charred beyond recognition, sources said.
About 50 militants targeted the trucks in which the soldiers were travelling with rockets. The trucks caught fire and several soldiers were burnt alive in what is being described as the worst attacks on the army in recent years.
Himachal Pradesh’s social welfare minister Dhani Ram Shandil accompanied Sepoy Sohan Singh Saini’s body to his village Manpura, where he was cremated with military and state honours. The funeral was attended by local political leaders and officials.
In Tikkri daksana village, where many residents serve in the army, people joined the funeral of soldier Ashok Rana and criticised the government for failing to curb militancy.
A pall of gloom descended on Garili village of Kangra district as hundreds of resident bid adieu to Lance Naik Rajneesh Singh, 35. The slain soldier’s son Sujal lit the funeral pyre.
Hundreds of people also made a beeline for Chot and Maseran villages in Mandi district to join the funerals of Havildar Prakash Chand and Sepoy Manoj Kumar.